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Bitcoin slid almost 38% in June to record its second-biggest monthly loss since its debut in 2009. It traded over $31,000 on June 1 and dropped to as low as $17,700 mid-month, before recovering and ending the month at $19,209, according to CoinGecko data.
The monthly decline is second only to bitcoin's plunge of 38.6% in August 2011, and pushed prices below 2017's highs.
June's losses came amid declining macroeconomic sentiment, fears of inflation and systemic risks from within the crypto ecosystem, such as the possible insolvency of crypto lender Celsius Network and the blowup of crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital.
“The losses were caused by many factors," said Ali Kassab, chairman of crypto investment firm Centurion & Co. “These included monetary policies bordering on central banks' response to rising inflation fueled by COVID-19 and the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war.
"From Terra’s collapse to the liquidation of Three Arrows Capital and unending layoffs, the bad trend in the crypto industry weighed down the price of bitcoin,” Kassab added, noting he expected institutional investments “to pour into the asset” and create "better price performance" in July.
Prices to ‘range’
Others such as Chris Terry of lending platform SmartFi say they expect bitcoin to trade in a fairly narrow range in the short term. “The feeling of the trading desk is that if bitcoin stays in the $18,000 to $20,000 [range], it's going to be a long drawn out, and we could be in this trading range now for weeks,” he said.
“Everybody kind of feels that bitcoin needs to wash out and take out all the short positions and reset, which would be probably the full 80% retracement, which is typical in the markets, which would be down in the $12,000 to $13,000 range,” Terry added.
At press time the largest cryptocurrency was changing hands around $19,200, up 0.3% over the past 24 hours.
Central bankers renewed fears of rate hikes among investors earlier this week at the European Central Bank’s annual forum. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated the central bank's commitment to increasing interest rates to curtail inflation.
Speaking at the ECB meeting, Powell said he was more concerned about the challenge posed by inflation than about the possibility that higher interest rates could push the U.S. economy into a recession.
Powell said the Fed had to raise rates rapidly, Reuters reported, adding that a gradual increase could cause consumers to feel that higher prices of commodities would persist. About a week ago, his comments suggested rate hikes could soften before next year.
Searching for a bottom
Such an outlook has caused some to opine that bitcoin hasn't hit a bottom yet, although many are optimistic it will eventually recover and surge to new highs.
“I don’t think BTC has hit the bottom yet, but I am sure the bull market will come back,” said Jimmy Zhao, founder of crypto exchange ZBX. “I recommend buying bitcoin while the price is low and holding on to it, because in the next bull run, its price will hit $100,000 at least.”
Acquiring bitcoin on the cheap and holding on until the next cycle is a sentiment shared by others in the industry.
“Indicators show the market is in extreme fear condition, [with] some long-term holders capitulating and businesses defaulting,” said Anton Gulin, business director at crypto exchange AAX. “However, it’s neither the first nor the last bear cycle, and those with better long-term operational planning see it as an opportunity to build and prepare for the next bull run.
“When someone sells, it’s always someone who’s buying. I expect a continued shift of liquidity and a series of mergers and acquisitions in the coming months,” Gulin added.